Using Facebook in teaching: an experiment for the new academic year

I’ve previously talked about using Facebook and Twitter in Science Communication, but how about in teaching? I’ve decided to give it a go this year. I started by setting up a teaching page. Setting up a page on Facebook is straightforward, and in order to get an official url assigned you need to get 25 people to ‘like’ the page. So, once you have the page set up, what do you do with it? This is what I plan to do:

(i) provide links to my teaching material hosted on my own website, as opposed to the University’s official VLE. The material will be there on the VLE as well, but it will be easier to download from my site, and moreover, will be available to all, not just those registered for the module (which is an issue with the VLE).

(ii) encourage students to post questions/discussions on the page, which I can then respond to. I know that VLEs offer something like this, but I would suggest that Facebook is easier to use! This may save answering lots of e-mails about specific questions; they can be answered in one go.

The material that I will post links to will be in non-editable PDF format; native versions of documents (PowerPoint and Word) will be available, if appropriate, on the VLE. Also, any material on selective release, like lecture recordings, will only be available from the VLE.

I’m hoping this venture will be useful for the students, but only time will tell. I’ll hope to provide a progress report in about week 7 of the semester!



2 thoughts on “Using Facebook in teaching: an experiment for the new academic year”

  1. Interesting idea but what happens if you start to get questions and responses from students not in your class? I guess you need security on Facebook to limit access, but what about twitter?

    To me it seems that the use of WebCT, MyCourses, Blackboard do the same job as social media, but make it easier for the teacher because they are developed for teaching.

  2. Actually this is one of the reasons I am doing this. Blackboard is very restrictive, and only allows registered students to see material. But what if someone wants to see what is taught in a given module? My solution gets round this problem. Also some students have found accessing BB difficult from off campus. I’ll still put ‘restricted access’ material like lecture recordings, native (editable) versions of documents etc on the KLE, but I’m hoping that using FB will provide a more easily accessible, user-friendly forum for discussions, etc. We’ll see if I’m right!

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